On the 23rd of February 2014, Liverpool hosted Swansea City.
Brendan Rodgers’ side was in a rich vein of form and well on their way to securing Champions League football for the first time in five years.
Conversely, his former club Swansea City were on their way to a 12th placed finish.
Throwback to Simpler Times
As a result, many would have expected the hosts to have the measure of their Welsh counterparts. Liverpool lined up with their usual 4-3-3 / 4-4-2 diamond formation.
LFC Starting XI: Mignolet, Flanagan, Škrtel, Agger, Johnson, Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Sturridge, Suárez.
Attack was the best form of defence.
Consequently, Liverpool raced into a two-goal lead within the first 20 minutes. Daniel Sturridge burst through onto a superb pass by Raheem Sterling to round the ‘keeper and open the scoring after three minutes.
Next to get their name on the score-sheet was none other than Jordan Henderson. Liverpool’s current captain placed a beautiful strike into the top left corner and gave the Reds some breathing space.
However, as was so often the case in 2013/14 – Liverpool conceded immediately after scoring. Jonjo Shelvey netted a crackerjack to bring the Swans right back into the encounter.
Seeing a former player score against the Reds often leaves a sour taste in the mouth but Shelvey warranted this goal – an absolute belter.
Subsequently, Martin Škrtel was involved in an unfortunate deflection. Wilfried Bony’s effort nestled in Mignolet’s net. Liverpool had surrendered their lead within 7 minutes and the game was all square.
SAS to the rescue
As a result, the game looked destined to be 2-2 by half-time.
Fortunately, Suárez pulled some magic out of from under his sleeve.
The dexterous Uruguayan received possession on the left side of Swansea’s box. Composed in possession, he evaluated his options before delivering a sumptuous cross that Sturridge duly buried.
3-2 to Liverpool, lead restored.
Defenders all at sea
Liverpool started the second half with a slender lead and thus would only need to play responsible football to claim the three points right? That was never a possibility during this era.
The Reds were shaky and conceded a penalty two minutes into the second stanza. Wilfried Bony stepped up and dispatched the spot-kick confidently to pull the Swans level for the second time.
Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man
Despite this, supporters would have been confident of another Liverpool goal.
Up until this point, Liverpool had managed a superb run of form in the Premier League. The Reds’ hadn’t lost since their trip to Stamford Bridge on the 29th of December 2013.
Thus, dropping points at Anfield seemed unlikely. Rodgers’ and his players were aware that anything other than three points could be detrimental to their Champions League aspirations.
Fortunately, Jordan Henderson heeded the calls of Reds worldwide. The tireless midfielder followed up diligently on a Suárez effort. The ball deflected into Henderson’s path and he eventually bundled it in on his second attempt.
Liverpool 4-3 Swansea City.
Surprisingly, Liverpool finally found some defensive resilience and closed out the tie to secure three points.
Considered by many to be a Premier League classic – however, I would classify it as a throwback to the defensive horror shows that we were all too familiar with.
Despite their obvious weaknesses, Rodgers’ chargers finished 2nd – losing out to Manchester City by two points following a roller-coaster season where we conceded 50 goals in the Premier League.